In the gaming community, we are used to having content locked behind a paywall or timer, but the new Avengers game could set a dangerous precedent for the industry’s future.
When we heard Avengers was coming, there was nothing short of enthusiasm, with everyone speculating who they would be able to play and what playstyles these characters would have. The excitement only grew when we heard that every hero would be customizable and the game would bring RPG elements into the mix. Soon, we got news that a huge roster of heroes would drop every few seasons to add replay value to the game. Like many others, I was sold.
The hype, however, took a sharp turn when Sony announced that Spider-Man would only be playable for the PlayStation community, even when (not if) other platformers would pay the same price. What this boils down to is paying the same price but getting barred from certain content than others in a different community just because they have a certain console.
Other console exclusives like Mario, Halo, Forza, Uncharted and The Last Of Us aren’t comparable here. Because these games are console exclusives, one community is available to play them while the others aren’t. This is perfectly reasonable. You’re not going to buy an XB1 and fork over $60 to play The Last Of Us because the game doesn’t exist on that console and never will. Console exclusives are fine, and so are certain game modes favorable to a certain community before ultimately becoming available to the rest of the platform family (see Modern Warfare.)
It took Red Dead Redemption 2 over a year before it became available on PC, but it’s something that the community knew was coming its way. It wasn’t a “Maybe we will, maybe we won’t” situation.
As could have been guessed, this got many in the gaming community pretty riled up to the point that many gave up on the idea of purchasing the game. This informal boycott seems primed to continue unless things change or the game drastically lowers its value. Further irritating the gaming community is the fact that Spider-Man shows up in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 on the Nintendo Switch. His role reprised by the PS4 Spider-Man’s voice actor. Also, why Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 is a Nintendo exclusive despite its predecessors being on multi-platforms is beyond me. I’ll save that tangent for another day.
I’m going to play devil’s advocate here when I say that Sony is well in its rights to keep Spider-Man an exclusive Playstation character. After all, they do own the rights to the character, which means the own when and on what screen our favorite wall-crawler pops up in. The problem is the precedent this sets. Other companies may take note of this maneuver and, regardless of what rights they have for certain characters, try to mimic it. Do you think EA is going to care when they’re responsible for anti-gambling laws spawned from their shameless Loot Box practices? No.
Folks, this could very well be the start of another damaging gaming practice that throws hurdles afront of how we play our games. Very much like the microtransactions (Loot Boxes), this could potentially become a norm that no one asked for. Rights or no rights, developers and publishers alike are going to view this struggle in both the right and wrong mindsets. Despite this snafu, the Avengers game looks very solid, and I’d hate to see another shady practice tarnish the potential of the game within it’s infancy. As of now, we’re forced to cross our fingers and hope that exclusivity stays the way it used to be for the sake of gaming.